While I was a young magician, people would often ask, “What do you do?” In those days, I would often say, “I am a magician.” I would then invariably get one of two follow up questions.
“What instrument do you play?” is the questions that I would get from people who thought they had heard me say musician, and were curious what instrument I specialized in.
“What do you really do?” is the question that I got from most people, because they could not believe that anyone could devote themselves full time to magic.
When I was in university, my main source of income was magic. I taught after school magic classes, I did birthday parties, and, best of all, I did regular table magic at a downtown hotel brunch. The brunch gig paid very well for a few hours of work each week, and it gave me enough money that I did not have to worry about day to day expenses, while allowing me enough time to concentrate on my studies. I also had some income for the work that I did for YTV.
The one place that I got a different reaction was Las Vegas. My father was an avid card player, and he took me with him on a few trips to Vegas. There, if you told someone that you were a magician, the normal reaction was “Where are you performing?”
On my first trip to Vegas, while hanging out at the magic shop in the Circus Circus Casino, a customer came in looking at buying a new card trick. At magic shops, normally there is a magician who demonstrates tricks to customers so that they can get a better idea of what they are buying. That afternoon, the owner’s wife was behind the counter, and she was not a magician. Seeing that the trick the customer was interested in was one that I knew well, I offered to demonstrate it. After the sale was completed and the happy customer had left the shop, the owner told me that she was very impressed, and she offered me a job demonstrating magic at the store.
While I was happy to have been offered the opportunity, I explained to the owner that I was from Canada and that I had to go back to University. Who knows what would have happened if I had stayed?